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Old 04-09-2007, 08:34 AM   #1
Eagle of Fire
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Lately, I've purchased a new game named City Life. If you didn't hear about this game, it's just like a clone of Sim City, but instead of focusing on the city as an administrator, you focus on the city as a humanitarian and must agence everything so the six types of people who can come to your city coexist in peace.

However, what I have to say about this game doesn't really turn around gameplay... Which is a shame, because it does look interesting and quite original, and the game run quite smoothly when it does run... No, what I have to say about this is, unfortunatly, what doesn't work in the game... Namely, those incredible brains behind the creation of the game didn't think valid or usefull to code the game so it would be possible for a Windows user to be able to tab back to the desktop without crashing the game, or that it would not be important to see that the game is able to run without interferences from the most popular apps (free or not) available on the web those days. In my case, Zone Alarm... (which is a fricking firewall, if you by any chance didn't know what it is... And one of the most, if not the most, popular free firewall around.)

Worse than that, even though it's quite bad already, when I got to the official site forum to try to get a fix to the problem I had which completely stopped me from playing the game, I got a kind of "lecture" on how about the games were all tested on "vanilla" computers (which basically mean stripped down as much as possible of any kind of content everybody else use those days), that the guy who was answering back to me had about 20 years of playtester and game developper under his belt (like I care? I'm there to get a fix on a problem which stop me from playing the game!) and that it's very standard to assume that all (and I really mean all from what he was saying) gamers just turn their internet down along with all their apps when playing games. Any game.

I just can't stop thinking that I should even be insulted to have such a stupid answer served back to me, but then reality settle in... And I just can't pretend here, I'm not really surprised about all this. Not that I think that it's alright or even should happen in PC gaming to have developpers to even think that way... But y'know, I've been so disapointed by several points in PC gaming in those past few years that nothing much surprise me anymore. All I seem to get is a very bland taste in my mouth, memories of the golden age of PC gaming (which seem to have been around the 90's and never got back) and a fatality settling more and more in front of me: I must now be too old to continue to walk the path of the gamer.

Yeah... Too old... Why else would I just then say "screw this, another 20 bucks wasted" instead of jumping at the barricades like I used to do in the past, claiming at everybody else in range how sucky aforementioned game is and why they should not bother buying it (thus saving them from the same mistake), which in turn would either show said producers around or maybe drive them near or even out of business. Why else?

Because I can. But have I just became with time too greedy with my gaming that I can't take an original game at the cost of having other parts of the game which are clearly out of date, like I've seen regularly in the past? Or is it really a problem that the producers decided to take out of the way by trying to make other people beleive what they think other people should think?

Truth is... I just don't care anymore...
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:38 AM   #2
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Eagle of Fire @ Sep 4 2007, 06:34 PM) [snapback]308722[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
Why Is Pc Gaming Dying?[/b]
Because of 3 basic things which cover everything else that's going to follow after them:
1. We had too many games. We know too many examples of games. It's more and more difficult to create somethingnew and innovative in this area. And it's more and more difficult for gamers to accept games that lack some of either qualities that earlier games had, with shining examples of past before us.
2. Commercialism. Big companies seek to produce what the masses want, which is mostly bigger graphics and higher system requirements which force gamers to buy new, more expensive hardware. If the game isn't entirely finished yet, it's usually still published, with patches often already following them within minutes.
Such time pressure and strict control isn't exactly the best environment for imagination and innovation.
3. The dawn of current civilization, which is noticeable not only in computer games area. Think of that whatever you would like to.

Btw., I completely share your nostalgy of the golden age of video games.
But remember one thing - it's a past. Past is dead. We're in the present day. It's time to create something new instead of complaining about something that others are doing bad.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:26 AM   #3
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If you ask me it's quite simple.

Many people have been running into different problems with newer games, that's why there are so many patches for just about any possible crap out there. And people complained about that - having to get patches to play the game.

So obviously somebody decided to make a game that needs no patches, but you must strip down your computer to do so. You'd be surprised how many kids would gladly uninstal some software (for which they wouldn't care at all - even if it is vital to protect their computer) just so they could get something they bought to run - and not have to search for patches.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:45 AM   #4
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wait, if the game doesn't use internet then why and how does zone alarm come in then? as far as i know ZA will only note oyu that programe is trying to access the web. and then you can allow it or not and also tick the box to always allow or always deny.

i think games will go towards realism. i am looking forward mostly to some increased AI and to have more enemies yet once again. i mean FPS started to have this rooms with 1-3 enemies... what i would like to see is something like we saw in doom or duke3d.

and i do think that AI is progressing. you are not playing against dumb statues with predictable movement. and then once you know their movement game becomes easy and boring (e.g all arcade ones as well as strategy ones).

STALKER for example (despite it's flaws because of rushed development) has some replayability rate because each time oyu play it something else might happen. some new event etc. and that's despite the fact that they haven't fully enabled their A-life.

Also new Farcry 2 ideas seem cool (if they can manage to implement them). i mena having clouds (and storms) form because of conditions (and not because they are drawn) makes itinteresting.

Maybe strategy games will get some unpredictable behaviour as well...

and then there is Wii and it's sucess...
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:51 AM   #5
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Yeah, I hate it when games can't stand being minimised. It's just laziness on the part of the game's makers mostly, it's quite possible to make a game fully compatable with an operating system, it just requires playtesting on a varied number of computers, runnig different OS configurations.

I remember being impressed by the GTA games when I reinstalled Vice City recently; you can minimise the game, and then come back to it with a minimum of effort. Also, the game automatically pauses upon minimisation, whether by interuption by a firewall or some other program, or by accidentally hitting the windows key. This is a game which had the proper effort put into it by it's makers (hence the year sepearating the consoel and PC releases), shows that such issues are only possible to correct with a large input of resources that most developers simply cannot afford to put in.

And I have to say, I do tend to unplug my internet and deactivate my firewall/virus scanner when playing a game; but that's mostly because my computer is showing signs of its age and I need all the free memory I can get, than through fear of minimisation.

Still, this problem is hardly new, I've had problems with minimsation since I first started gaming. It's the way applications that force things to minimise have become widespread that makes this more of a problem, and it's them that really annoy me about software today. Whether it's the popup blockers that pop up to tell you that they've just blocked a popup or the virus scan that start's automatically every week in the middle of the evening, and that takes 10 minutes to stop because it's using up all the of system resources available to it. Also programs like quicktime and steam that start when you turn your computer on so you have to spend the first 10 minutes after you've turned your computer on closing them all, and are only possible to kill by rottling around in msconfig, trying to figure out which arbitrary jumble of letters refers to which program. Then there's things like realsched and jusched that constantly run, hidden from you except deep with the Task Manager, who exist only to communicate with their motherships, to make sure that you instantly know about the next useless update of their terrible program... grrrrr...
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:05 PM   #6
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I don't think Pc Gaming is dying. What's happening is the contrary. Today Pc games are aimed to a wider public, with a bigger supply of titles and lots of marketing. So, if you want to find a game that fully fullfils your expetations, you'll have to do a bit of research before buying it, and I don't only mean reading a few reviews in some gaming magazines, but looking at different and objetive sources such as player reviews or specialized sites that can escape the influence of marketing and hype in general.

Another point is nostalgia. You've been gaming for many, many years, and that means memories. Don't expect a good new game to confront your golden memories of Pc gaming and remain victorious. That will only happen in a few years, after it has gone through the filter of time and it's been incorporated to those same memories.

About the design, I'm with havell here. There have always been issues with games about that. For instance, I remember all the problems I had running Darkseed back in the days when it was releasedl. On the contrary, I'm playing World of Warcraft right now (at the same time I'm writing this I'm traveling around the world in some flying beast) which is one of the strongest designs I've ever faced, in terms of gameplay, replaying value and technical issues. The same goes for Daggerfall (weak design, still great game) and Morrowind (strong design, great game too).
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:27 PM   #7
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Leaving aside if modern games are worse gameplay-wise than old ones, what you got was a buggy videogame and moronic tech support. And these are as old as videogames and tech support respectively. As people have already said, old games were not bug-free, on the contrary. Think about UFO and many others.

In the DOS days there could be huge differences between machines whereas now a Windows environment is more standard and friendly to programmers, but on the other hand now a Windows machine has tons of programs multitasking whereas that didn't happen in DOS. So the bottom line hasn't changed that much. Back in the golden age (90s) there were many buggy games, and some of them were very good at the same time. Many people refused to make the game they had bought run (I for example did so with Syndicate which I bought abroad --now I can play it eventually L0L).

As for the programs that popup and make the currently active one minimize, well it's your computer so you control what runs. I myself don't have any scheduled tasks.
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:07 PM   #8
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IMHO opinion, the simple answer:
1 - Pay by the month games suck. Idon't care of WoW is popular/doing well, it's one of the few, and I think it sucks actually. Modernized Diablo 2, except you have to pay.
2 - I don't know how many games I've bought thinking they would work on my PC and they don't, or games I wasn't sure would work at all and they go off without a hitch.
3 - Too much emphasis on graphics, not enough gameplay. I am currently playing Master of Magic, one of my favorite games ever, (yesterday for 8 hours straight actually), but BioShock from start to finish is 16 hours.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
wait, if the game doesn't use internet then why and how does zone alarm come in then? as far as i know ZA will only note oyu that programe is trying to access the web. and then you can allow it or not and also tick the box to always allow or always deny.[/b]
Exactly! I myself think the problem is a combinaison of two problems: the game doesn't even allow me to try to get back to the desktop, and it must be firing up ZA popup box at loading. What happen is that the game freeze at around 90-95% of loading, and won't allow me to do anything else. Not even access the task manager to try to kill either programs! That's moronic at it's best... All I have left to do is press the reset button, something I almost never did in my whole 3-4 years of owning this great gaming rig. Said gaming rig which I almost never have problem with, too.


Thanks everybody for your comments. However, this is not appeasing me the least. I find that your comments just complement mine, in a way or another... *sigh*
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Old 04-09-2007, 06:00 PM   #10
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I said that the bottom line hasn't changed much, but I'll correct myself. It must be much easier programming for Windows than it was for DOS. But nowadays programmers are lazier. The games from the early 90s were coded in assembly, and later in extremely optimized low-level C. Take a look at the system requirements for Microprose's early 3D flight simulators of the late 80s (I'm talking about 4.77 MHz). And assembly programmers were later bewildered that Doom could have been coded in C and still run on a 486. Now high-level C++ is too low-level for most programmers. Take a look at the system requirements for some amateur freeware FPS that are technically inferior to Doom. Nowadays programmers want to code with one hundredth of the effort neccesary for the same technical result they would have got in 1990, and consequently they're way farther away from the way the computers actually work deep down.

Of course they're damn right. There's no point in optimizing to death if it doesn't add value (like in the OS, browser, etc.). The only reason why things are like this is because there's hardware capable of running advanced 3D games programmed in high-level code.

And about the popups, I forgot to say that the "set and forget" approach of scheduling tasks (or letting programs do it) is overrated because it doesn't always result in "sit and relax". You schedule tasks so that you don't have to worry about them, but then you discover that they're a bigger annoyance than if you had to perform them yourself, because they interrupt your normal usage of the computer. Scheduling tasks is useful when you have a very regular schedule yourself, for example you schedule the computer at work to perform a scan for virus or a defrag when you know you'll be out having a coffee everyday. But at home it's impossible to impose yourself a fixed schedule, unless of course you schedule stuff for times when you're at work or sleeping, but then the computer must be on.

EDIT: Oops EoF's post wasn't there before. :P
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But EoF, what does ZA exactly do? Or you don't even know because the computer becomes irresponsive? Have you tried creating blocking rules so that ZA doesn't popup any longer asking if it should allow or block? If you can't create the rule because you don't know which app tries to access, try this: block all traffic in ZA, then run the game, then consult ZA's log and see which app tried to access at that time, then create a rule to block that app. The info could make it to ZA's log even if you had to reset before being able to consult it.
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